Socio-cultural factors influencing utilization of prevention-of-mother-to child-transmission of HIV strategies among women attending antenatal care clinics in Rachuonyo North Sub-County-Homa-Bay County, Kenya
Objective: To assess the sociocultural characteristics influencing HIV positive women attending antenatal care clinics in North Rachuonyo Sub- County
Design: Health facility cross sectional study
Setting: 20 antenatal care clinics in North Rachuonyo Sub-County
Subjects: Three hundred and eighty-five HIV infected pregnant women as participants.
Results: The mean age of the women interviewed was 25.7 years (range =31) and 67% were married. Majority 60% (95% CI:55.0 -64.8) did not seek permission to know or undertake HIV testing, this contributed to nondisclosures of the HIV status where 13.6% (95% CI:9.0 -20.1) were in single parenthood and non- committal relationships and perceived fear of stigma and discrimination by partner 25% (95%CI:29.7 – 45.0). Barriers impeding women participation on MTCT awareness programs included cultural practices such as wife inheritance (26.8%), lack of support from partners in attending PMTCT services (25%), fear of losing property inheritance once HIV status is known by the family (22.3%) and cultural sexual ritual and beliefs by unknown partners 17.1%. Public discrimination and stigmatization 52%, protracted high cost of drugs 18% and 7% of health care attitude contributes to underutilization of PMTCT services. There are significant association between age, marital status and occupation with utilization of PMTCT services unlike to women with formal education.
Conclusion: The study showed sociocultural impediments with little potential impact to influence, improve and promote PMTCT services. Therefore, there is need to further intervention and educating women by demystifying sociocultural factors associated with HIV/AIDS spread by engaging various players, stakeholders and other community resource persons to increase utilization with a goal towards free HIV generation.